A feature at The Rap Sheet blog (link below) is a good enough recommendation for me, and even though I only saw Shamus and Barry Award nominee Mark Coggins’ piece about the Beats, Jack Kerouac and his new August Riordan novel The Dead Beat Scroll on Monday, I knew I had to have it. The book was in my hands Wednesday A.M., which is mighty quick, and I dove in that evening. Indie mystery/crime fiction publisher Down & Out Books did a fine job with this handsome trade pb, each chapter offset with evocative full-page B&W photos.
Private investigator August Riordan is out for vengeance when his former partner is murdered. The investigation leads him to an unresolved missing person case and more gruesome murders, pointing to a lost Jack Kerouac manuscript, presumably worth millions. This is my first time with a Coggins’ novel, my intro to his August Riordan character, and so far so good. Glad I took a chance on a hard-working writer who never got on my radar for some reason. Research into Chicago’s more provincial late 1950’s Beat scene has been among the things I’ve had to dig into for my own projects lately, and while Coggins’ novel isn’t that kind of a retro setting, it’s fitting in nicely. I’m liking The Dead Beat Scroll thus far…I bet you will too if you check it out. And look up author (and photographer, BTW!) Mark Coggins site while you’re thinking it over (link below). I’ll assume the stunning shots in The Dead Beat Scroll are his.